New Era in Taijiquan: Post Xu Xiaodong Historical match

New Era in Taijiquan: Post Xu Xiaodong Historical match

Postby mls_72 » Tue Jul 18, 2017 3:21 pm

So now that Xu xiaodong smashed the Taiji guy Wei Lei (who did demos of beating his student with fancy moves). what are you doing to make your Tai chi combat ready?

I suggested this to the Yang family association back in March 2017 before the whole fiasco: do you think they should implement more free push hands and free sparring in their "Ranking"?

3. Bring freestyle push hands and sparring into the rank testing in the higher levels.

Push hands is a friendly and non-violent way to test skills. While learning the 'patterns' of push hands is very important, having people actually push on you in free push hands and how to handle it is the real meaning of method. Having teachers who are overly skilled in forms and push hands patterns does not make them a complete martial artist. I believe it can be done in testing without penalizing a student if they failed to neutralize. They would just need feedback on what to work on.

Sparring with safety gear is another way of showing ones ability in Tai Chi San Shou. Many schools I have attended that have Belt or Sash ranks have these kinds of tests. There is a saying in Chinese martial arts: "Paper tigers" or "He is only a Tiger on paper". An organization should work towards the martial side just as much as the health side. A martial artist of a lower rank should not be able to beat a higher ranked instructor. A higher ranked teacher shouldn't avoid push hands/sparring with a lower ranked candidate. Quality control. It is a matter of face and in a competitive world, the Yang Family Association needs to highlight the original martial side to honor its founders. Of course the dilemma is many folks do not come to Taijiquan to learn to fight but for health and wellness, but this could be optional to those who wish this for advanced ranking.
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Re: New Era in Taijiquan: Post Xu Xiaodong Historical match

Postby Bob Ashmore » Tue Jul 18, 2017 5:10 pm

"what are you doing to make your Tai chi combat ready?"

Let's look at this from another perspective...
I would be willing to bet good, American money that there were at least two dozen MMA guys who lost a match today.
Go online, use any search engine and type in "MMA losses" and have fun watching this in real time.
So...
Why aren't we talking about MMA changing up their techniques due to the poor performances of their worst practitioners?
Their guys lost, so obviously the entire MMA world is pushing paper tigers. Right?
That's their entire argument that TCC is crap, so why aren't they applying it to themselves since their art is so demonstrably no good?
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Re: New Era in Taijiquan: Post Xu Xiaodong Historical match

Postby Bob Ashmore » Tue Jul 18, 2017 5:50 pm

As for the ranking system...

I am on record as not being its biggest fan, ever since it was first put in place in fact.
Back then, the only parts of the tests were theory and form. Much like you, but at that time, I saw that as being a bit lacking because I came from a long standing school that taught the skills of ph's and sparring as part and parcel of everyday training.
Since that time though pushing hands has been added for the higher levels of Association ranking tests, though not "freestyle" it's still a fairly decent test of basic ph's skills.
The change seems to have followed a natural progression. As more Association instructors are taught the skills, as well as how to teach them to others, they are being brought into the testing.
With the Association only being in existence for... What? About fifteen years or so? It's not really possible to have had enough of the instructors trained up BY THE ASSOCIATION to be able to teach these types of skills to their standards.
That kind of thing takes time.
Slowly, slowly these things will get rolled into the testing as well.
As more instructors are brought up to speed on the Yang Family methods for teaching these skills, I do believe you will see them start to make them part of their testing.
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Re: New Era in Taijiquan: Post Xu Xiaodong Historical match

Postby mls_72 » Tue Jul 18, 2017 8:37 pm

Bob Ashmore wrote:"what are you doing to make your Tai chi combat ready?"

Let's look at this from another perspective...
I would be willing to bet good, American money that there were at least two dozen MMA guys who lost a match today.
Go online, use any search engine and type in "MMA losses" and have fun watching this in real time.
So...
Why aren't we talking about MMA changing up their techniques due to the poor performances of their worst practitioners?
Their guys lost, so obviously the entire MMA world is pushing paper tigers. Right?
That's their entire argument that TCC is crap, so why aren't they applying it to themselves since their art is so demonstrably no good?


Bob,

Good afternoon, thank you for your perspectives, thoughts, and experiences you shared on this and the ranking system.
The MMA world is one I'm very familiar with, I've been a teacher and student at a few MMA gyms from around 2005 to 2013.
I can tell you that what they do there is very very far from form work and push hands. It is a young persons sport with demographics age 16-35 as the upcoming sport for those of that demographic.

The MMA perspective you told does not quite clearly express the combatives that Tai chi people do. While on average, MMA people fight all the time in sport competitions it is why we have so many televised events like UFC, Bellator, regional, and local fight events just about weekly. Tai chi guys rarely if ever participate in those fight events or just do push hands as their 'combat sport' in an annual event. With that said, of course MMA guys lose all the time to other MMA guys. Tai Chi guys rarely lose to MMA guys cause they don't hardly ever enter MMA fights at all. MMA guys that do fight honestly do change up their game plans when they do lose to get back on the winning track. Are they 'paper tigers'? NO, not in this sense to have courage to put themselves in those events.

The 'paper tigers' I talk about are those who may have high ranks in Tai Chi, but do not know how to fight if it really came down to it. That is why I proposed Tai chi people getting out of their shell (comfort zone/safe space) and learn more realistic fighting within the scope of what Tai chi uses functionally as a martial art. I've been taught by several Tai Chi people who know how to teach Tai chi's signature striking, kicking, throws, counter attacks, etc. for real world self defense situations. Remember: No martial art is best, but every martial art is best at what it was designed to do. I sincerely do think that Tai Chi is best at combat in mid-range striking and grappling.

To be honest, the higher 'Ranked' persons I had to train with for ranking in the Yang family system, I do not think could free push and definitely spar with me, and they would def lose face if they did. That is why they avoided free pushing in their classes and just focused on being snobbish about knowing more about form and push hands patterns, all the while talking down to me cause I wasn't ranked as high as them.

sincerely,
Matt
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Re: New Era in Taijiquan: Post Xu Xiaodong Historical match

Postby Bob Ashmore » Wed Jul 19, 2017 7:31 pm

MLS,
I feel your pain. It is never easy to be "judged" by someone who you do not consider to be capable of performing the judgement.
Having come from another TCC school and having been an instructor there for a number of years with plenty of "hands on" training in every aspect of the art, including "real life" hand to hand and weapons fighting (which it seems you are referring to as "free style" however I view it just a little bit differently, tomato/toma-toe) it wasn't easy to force myself into a room full of those who did not have that same background or skill set to be judged by them on Tai Chi skills.
What I had to do was remind myself that this wasn't the same style I had previously trained and I wasn't being judged on my fighting abilities that day.
I was walking into a judgement of my ability to answer Traditional Yang Family Tai Chi Chuan theory and form.
Period, end of story.
Pushing hands, sparring, actual fighting, these were not what I was being judged on, so those skills were irrelevant to the matter at hand no matter what the abilities along those lines were either for those doing the judging or for myself.
The Association judges had the skill set to judge my TYFTCC form work and knowledge of their theory, as such they were qualified to judge me on that.
Since that's what I showed up there to be judged on...
That was all that mattered.
And do you know what...?
I "passed" my level 1 Association ranking test! Yay!
Then I got cocky and went into the next ranking test thinking, "This is going to be a piece of cake!"
And...
That time I did "not pass"!
Wow! HORROR! UNBELIEVABLE! HOW DID THIS HAPPEN?
I can tell you how, just read the above for the answer...
I GOT COCKY!
Simple as that.
I did the 98, not the 103, by leaving out part of Section 3 in between a couple of Single Whips.
I knew it too, immediately as I "finished" my long form I knew that I had not done those postures and would be leaving in disgrace.
I did NOT deserve to pass that day because I had gone into it thinking it was going to be super easy so did not practice as much as I should have, and inevitably I did not pass.
So if you're walking into the Association ranking process judging your TCC abilities on your past performances with other schools or groups...
You're going to have a very difficult time of it.
I can tell you that from personal experience.
I am out of time for now, so will leave that for the present.

As for MMA paper tigers...
They're legion.
In other ways than TCC obviously, but I can tell you and also from personal experience that not everyone who trains MMA can make the switch from "demonstration fighting" such as is done in the ring for their bouts and "real life" street fighting.
Because I've handed more than my fair share of MMA guys their butts when we worked together due strictly to my not having the problem of trying not to break any rules.
I don't follow rules in a street fight and have never trained to do so.
Making it easy to overcome them due to the lock in their own mind.

More as I can. Have to run.
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Re: New Era in Taijiquan: Post Xu Xiaodong Historical match

Postby mls_72 » Thu Jul 20, 2017 3:43 pm

Bob Ashmore,

Sorry to hear about your ranking experience. I've never had that problem. Been doing Yang Taijiquan as my first martial art 27 years ago and had already learned the whole system : form, weapons (sword and saber), push hands, Da Lu, long Pole, moving step push hands, the two man 'san shou set', Da shou, and two person sword and two person spear work through my previous teachers from Fu Zhong Wen's Yongnian Taiji association. Besides that, I'm a veteran forms, push hands, and full contact fighter in several National associations that host Chinese martial art tournaments.

Doing forms the way the Yang association does is not the problem. I became a member back in 2003 and did the Yang Zhen Dou and Yang Jun "Standard" 103 form for many years. I already did ranking up to Rank 3. I was supposed to do rank 4 exam this year but some complications with my teacher signing the appraisal section in a timely matter (he dragged his feet) for ranking in Seattle fell through. Then, the local group has pushed back the event from Oct 2016, to April 2017, then finalized
and rescheduled the ranking test right at a day I had 2 "Finals exams" at the acupuncture university I go to. :(

Again, my view is that in the future, for those capable, ranking will need to be re-examined and have some kind of quality control in regards to martial prowess in its members. Pretty forms and flowing patterns are great, but they are not a means to an end.

Mike Patterson who coached a Champion level Hsing-i full contact Lei Tai team for many years says in his book:

"When faced with and pressured by a worthy adversary....Rather than rise to your level of expectation,
you will sink to your level of true ability."
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Re: New Era in Taijiquan: Post Xu Xiaodong Historical match

Postby Bob Ashmore » Fri Jul 21, 2017 12:24 pm

Yes, I've heard many versions of that quote. Most often though was,"Shut up and fight already".

Problem with the ranking? No.
The problem was with me.
Unlike you, I did not come from a Yang style background so I didn't have years of experience with it to fall back on. I learned Wu Chien Chuan style, practiced and trained it for 15 years prior to moving too far away to train at a Wu's Tai Chi Academy.
So when I started training in Yang style I had a very full cup already. It took me quite a while to empty it enough to be able to perform Traditional Yang Family Tai Chi to anything even remotely resembling their standards.
The forms were just similar enough to infuriate me, just dissimilar enough to throw me off every time.
I finally managed to work past that, it wasn't easy for a lot of reasons that aren't important right now, and eventually somehow passed my L3 ranking test as well. Got that one on the first try!
That was years ago, I don't even remember how long ago to be honest.
Will I ever go back and try for L4?
Good question.
I have no answer.
Possibly. But not likely and certainly not anytime soon.
I honestly don't see a need for it.
I've long since lost any ambitions of ever being a "Great Grand Poobah" of TCC and am quite content to work with my business partner running our little school where we teach a few times a week to quite small groups.
It keeps my toes in the pool and I quite enjoy it but I don't see it ever reaching any heights of grandeur.

Should the Association ranking tests be changed to include freestyle ph's and sparring?
That's a question for greater minds than mine.
Not everyone who trains in the Association even wants to learn the martial aspects. Should they be forced to in order to "progress"?
Good question. I do not have the answer however.
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Re: New Era in Taijiquan: Post Xu Xiaodong Historical match

Postby mls_72 » Wed Jul 26, 2017 7:41 pm

PM you. check inbox
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